Sales  ·  Commercial

Aria Acquires Arlington Building Entitled for Future Apartments

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Aria Development Group has acquired a commercial building in Arlington, Va., for $11.2 million, an almost 50 percent discount from its last sale, Commercial Observer has learned.

The five-story property at 4420 Fairfax Drive is already entitled for a 23-story apartment building spanning nearly 245,000 square feet. The entitlement was recently extended through 2028.

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The 60,000-square-foot building in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor last changed hands in 2015 when Washington Capitol Partners bought it for $21.75 million. It was reportedly under a letter of intent for a comparable amount as recently as last summer, but sold at a big discount due to current market fundamentals, according to Jay Lee, a director on Aria’s investments team.

The building is currently active and has an educational component, as it is home to Arlington Public Schools, chef-centric food marketplace Hungry, orthopedic clinic OrthoBethesda, and EagleBank.

The property’s location next to the Ballston-MU Metro station in the growing Rosslyn-Ballston submarket of Arlington, combined with the current cash flow and significant development upside, convinced Aria that the deal was  a huge opportunity, Aria’s Lee noted. Especially since Aria is paying around 50 percent of the value from last year and the current taxable assessed value. 

Aria can choose to pursue a day care user for the vacant second and third floors, which are fully built out as a code-compliant day care center. The space recently held the nonprofit Children’s School.

The corner of Fairfax Drive and North Vermont Street, steps away from the building, is slated for a new west entrance to the Ballston Metro, which recently received an $80 million grant from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.

“The Northern Virginia market continues to prosper, with Arlington at the epicenter, and 4420 Fairfax is well positioned to participate in that success and weather current market turbulence,” Joshua Benaim, founder and CEO of Aria, told CO. “The property is in an excellent location among high-powered academic, corporate and government institutions and great entertainment in a walkable mixed-use neighborhood, and sits atop a future Metro station.”

The seller was represented by Eric Berkman and Kevin Sidney of Cushman & Wakefield (CWK), while Aria was represented in-house. 

Keith Loria can be reached at Kloria@commercialobserver.com.